Asian Correspondent » Nathan Schwartzman Asian Correspondent Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:16:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Korea Beat is departing Asian Correspondent Tue, 05 Feb 2013 05:42:20 +0000

Well, it’s just as the headline says. Being a part of Asian Correspondent has been great, as the people are great and Korea Beat has spent more time here than anywhere else, but the time has come to part ways. Fairly soon, I’ll move back to, start trying some new approaches to blogging that I’ve been mulling, and work on building a new project that I’m quite excited about. All of the old posts and comments will continue to be hosted here.

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Most-read articles of the week — February 3, 2013 Sat, 02 Feb 2013 18:04:05 +0000

Top 10 in society.

1. Authorities are investigating multi-campus universities that allow some students to begin at provincial campuses and then receive degrees from the more prestigious Seoul campus.

2. The recruitment rate for new students at KAIST has fallen below 90% for three consecutive years.

3. Residents of a high-rise apartment building are upset that the building is difficult to keep heated due to the windows being poorly insulated.

4. Some doctors were arrested on charges of selling Zolpidem as a date-rape drug.

5. After a single mother’s three children were found to be severely malnourished, one reporter looked at the life circumstances that left them in such poverty.

6. A look at a night spent in a casino.

7. A man has been arrested for convincing a woman who needed money that he could “sponsor” her with several tens of millions of won if she had sex with him. Torn, she decided to do it, but afterwards he disappeared without paying her.

8. The Ministry of Education revoked the credentials of over 130 graduates of a medical school found not to have had the required amount of training.

9. A photo of a seagull plucking  a french fry from a woman’s mouth at Haeundae Beach.

10. For the first time, the valedictorian at Seoul National University has a perfect 4.3 GPA.

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Aung San Suu Kyi pays respects to Korean democracy movement Fri, 01 Feb 2013 21:32:01 +0000

In South Korea on the 31st of January, Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi visited the memorial for the victims of the Gwangju Massacre.

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Frenchman arrested in Korea for playing saxophone Wed, 30 Jan 2013 06:25:26 +0000

Apparently Seoul police want to crack down on people putting on musical performances in subway stations, because two days ago they arrested a 49-year old Frenchman and his 46-year old Korean wife, who were putting on a saxophone performance in a train on line 2.

The couple scuffled with police and have been charged with assault. According to police, who announced the arrests today, the wife was the first to get physical, as she punched an officer in the chest and clawed his face. As she said later, she just wanted to create a happy atmosphere on the subway, where people usually don’t have a good time.

No word on whether police will crack down on the beggars and salesmen who also contribute to the subway atmosphere.

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Most-read articles of the week – January 26, 2013 Sun, 27 Jan 2013 04:21:07 +0000

Original list in is at this link.

Top 10 in society.

1. Actresses Lee Seung-yeon and Jang Mi-inae were called in for questioning regarding charges of selling drugs.

2. Economic competition is leading Chinese restaurants to cease delivery, leading their drivers to switch to delivering pizza or fried chicken.

3.  Seven teenagers in Taean are accused of sexually assaulting a female student.

4. Apparently Samsung Group vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong got his son admitted to Younghoon International Middle School under the “social consideration system”, which is supposed to be reserved for kids from low-income families.

5. A woman in Incheon was tricked by internet grifters into handing over very large sums of money.

6. Somebody set fire to some city buses parked in a garage, possibly an unhappy driver.

7. A college student was commended by police for rescuing a woman who had been kidnapped.

8. A man who had been running a mutual assistance society among small business owners for over a decade disappeared with tens of millions of won donated by the members.

9. Two Seoul city employees, both North Korean refugees, are accused of having repeatedly traveled to North Korea to relay information on defectors living in the South.

10. The government is considering raising the current retirement age of 60 to 68 by the year 2034, for social insurance payments.

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99% of Korean teachers oppose expansion of student rights Sat, 26 Jan 2013 04:42:43 +0000

Source article in Korean is at this link.

“My home is far away, how am I supposed to change my clothes and come back. Is it alright if I just go home?”

Last year at high school “A” in the Jungnang-gu area of Seoul, arguments have erupted between teachers and students every morning. Teachers would catch students coming to school without wearing their school uniforms. However, enforcement was in name only, with teachers unable to do anything more pointed than issue demerites. It was also difficult for them to take away students’ cellphones even if they used them during class.

With the execution of the students’ rights ordinance in an atmosphere in which teachers have greater difficulty offering guidance to students, students have come to completely ignore their teachers. One principal said that “even the ordinance says that students have to wear uniforms, but students don’t even think of it. All last year it appeared to have had a big effect on students, who seemed influenced to think that ‘regulations have weakened’.”

The Seoul students’ rights ordinance will have been in effect for one full year as of the 26th, and a study has found that nearly every teacher in the Seoul area thinks it should be either amended or overturned. This is because the ordinance, teachers say, has placed every Seoul-area school into a situation to that at high school “A”.

On the 21st and 22nd the Dong-A Ilbo and the Korean Federation of Teacher’s Associations surveyed 705 teachers in the Seoul area, finding that 87.2% believe the ordinance has worsened conditions at their schools. Over half, 55.7%, say the situation is “considerably worse” and 31.5% say it is “worse”. 9.8% believe things are “unchanged”, while 1.6% and 0.3%, respectively, believe things are either “better” or “considerably better”.

Similarly, the view of teachers that there has been a very negative effect leads in to the view that the job of guiding students has gotten tougher as well. Asked about what has been “the largest change since the ordinance”, 73.8% said that “guiding students has become difficult and the number of problem students has increased”. 1.1% said that “the structure of the educational environment has become more respectful of human rights” and 3.5% said that “students’ rights and obligations have expanded”, illustrating the low number of positive responses.

Asked about what has been the greatest difficulty in guiding students, 38.7% said “disruptions in class”, 32.9% said “the absence of control methods due to the ban on corporal punishment“. Also, 87.0% of teachers said that, due to the ordinance, they have either directly experienced, or heard from other teachers, that students no longer listen to correct guidance.

Accordingly, 58.9% of respondents said that “the ordinance must be amended or altered” and 40.0% said that “the ordinance must be overturned”.

Kim Dong-seok, spokesman for the KFTA, said of the survey findings that “many teachers feel that the ordinance has had negative effects on student guidance that have been greater than its proper function of developing students’ rights and responsibilities.”

With critical voices growing louder, it appears that debate will continue to engulf the ordinance.

Currently, the Ministry of Science, Education, and Technology is pursuing, to the Supreme Court, litigation for affirmation of nullity over the Seoul students’ rights ordinance. The reason is the violation of school’s freedoms. Last October Lee  Dae-yeong, former acting superintendent of education in Seoul,  sent an official notice to certain schools advising them that they should amend their school regulation in accordance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act rather than the ordinance.

Mun Yong-rin, who was elected superintendent of education last year after pledging to amend the ordinance, recently said that “because of the students’ rights ordinance there have been an increasing number of cases of teachers having difficulty guiding students. I will send the city council proposed amendments after determining precisely which clauses of the ordinance are problematic.”

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Yeouido stabbing trial conviction was by jury Fri, 25 Jan 2013 05:04:42 +0000

The Korean experiment with jury trials continues; source article in Korean is at this link.

The man who seriously wounded four people by stabbing them on a street in Yeouido has received a prison sentence from a jury.

On the 25th in the 11th criminal division of the Seoul Southern District Courts, under Judge Kim Ki-yeong, 31-year-old Mr. Kim, who was indicted for attempted murder and other charges for stabbing two former co-workers and two other passersby, was sentenced to 14 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release via an ankle monitoring bracelet.

Mr. Kim was held in prison following his indictment on charges of stabbing four people in the street near the Lexington Hotel in Yeouido, Seoul, at approximately 7.16am on August 20th.

The jury explained that “Mr. Kim attempted to murder the victims, his former co-workers, and seriously wounded them before fleeing, and while fleeing he stabbed two other people… the jury has considered the facts that he planned the crime in advance and seriously wounded passersby he did not even know.”

“The victims have suffered psychological harm and expect the defendant to be punished… the jury has considered the possibility of recidivism and the need for the defendant to be isolated from society for a long time.”

In this decision rendered by a jury, it was found unanimously that Mr. Kim had not been bullied by his former co-workers; Mr. Kim was not mentally unsound at the time of the crime; there was evidence of the crime; and that Mr. Kim presents a risk of recidivism.

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Korea’s Teheran Valley sees dramatic fire Fri, 25 Jan 2013 03:22:18 +0000

Today an Orange Factory Outlet near Seoulleung Station erupted in a fire (quite a photo at that link) that drew over 30 fire trucks and over 100 firefighters. No injuries or deaths have been reported.

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Cambridge International to prepare Korean students for American universities Sun, 20 Jan 2013 22:03:09 +0000

Source article in Korean is at this link.

Is it enough to be admitted to a domestic university? With the results of regular admissions coming out following the end of non-regular admissions for the 2013 school year, increasing numbers of parents and students have their eyes on overseas universities. Students who graduated in the third and fourth levels in high school can easily meet frustration if attempting to enter a top-10 university or a university in Seoul. However, in America (based on complete rankings) a student who graduates from the second through sixth levels can enter a university ranked from 30th to 150th. Chosun Education, an educational foundation created by Cambridge Korea and the Chosun Ilbo,  is making its Korean debut in the 16-year history of Cambridge International Special Admissions with a focus on the 30th to 150th ranked American universities. Beginning with 455 American universities, plus 170 in the United Kingdom, 45 in Canada, and 40 in Australia, there are 1,881 universities in 239 countries which have received A or AS levels of recognition by Cambridge International Examinations. Selected students study English and liberal arts courses in English, preparing them for easy adaptation to American university life.

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Most-read articles of the week — January 20, 2013 Sun, 20 Jan 2013 06:31:52 +0000

Top 10 in society.

1. The most-viewed story of the week was about an ice-fishing festival.

2. Noh Yeong-dae, who escaped from a police station while being held over sexual assault allegations, was re-arrested after five days.

3. A police officer in Ulsan used the popular IM program KakaoTalk to prevent two people from committing suicide.

4.  Supposedly a clear image of a UFO was captured on camera.

5. MBC fired reporter Lee Sang-ho over issues stemming from an interview with Kim Jong-nam, the son of Kim Jong-il who was once thought to be the heir apparent.

6. A principal in Gangnam illegally hired relatives as teachers.

7. A deaf person, who supposedly caused a ruckus, was forced to get off of a train and then fell onto the tracks and died when attempting to re-board.

8. 4Four in 10 people in their twenties are out of work, the highest unemployment rate among that age group in nearly 30 years.

9. With tigers and leopards being extinct in the wild in Korea, martens have been enjoying life free of major predators, reaching record weights.

10. A 42-year-old Mr. Park exploded in anger when an appeals court declined to overturn his 13-year sentence for murder, which he called “a joke”.

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The cost of a Gangnam-style education Thu, 17 Jan 2013 07:45:22 +0000
South Korea Gangnam

People stream into a street near Gangnam Station in Seoul, South Korea. Pic: AP.

Source article in Korean is at this link.

A study has found that three out of ten households in Gangnam-gu earn an average of five million won ($4,730) per month or more, and spend an average of 1.14 million won ($1,080) per month on private education.

Also, about 8% of the area’s households have a child who has studied abroad, at a cost of 50 million won per child.

Those statistics come from the local government’s 2011 statistics, published today. The statistics are compiled from 174 indicators in ten categories, including population, families, residences, education, and finances.

It was found that 27.5% of Gangnam households earn an average of five million won per month or more. 19.3% earn three to four million won, 18% earn two to three million won, and 17.6% earn four to five million won. 10.7% earn one to two million won, and 6.9% earn less than one million won.

78% of the population think of themselves as “at least middle class” in terms of political, economic, and social positions.

The average expenditure on private education is 1.14 million won per month. Households earning less than two million spend 710,000 won, while those earning at least ten million won spend 1.6 million won, showing that spending on education tends to rise with income. [But ponder those percentages. –KB]

Households with children in high school spend an average of 1.07 million won per month on private education. College graduates spend 1.08 million won, slightly more than high school graduates (1.03 million).

7.6% of households said they had had their children study overseas, at an average per-child cost of 48.577 million won. College students spend an average of 21.4 months studying abroad, middle school students 19.3 months, high school students 19.1 months, pre-schoolers 12.9 months, and elementary school students 11.6 months.

There were 1,965 recorded cram schools (hagwons), 7.1% higher than the 1,834 in 2010. That makes 3.5 cram schools per 1,000 Gangnam residents, 2.7 times higher than the figure of 1.3 for all of Seoul.

In 2010 30% of households were single-person, higher than the 24% figures for Seoul and nationwide. Half of female single-person households are unmarried women.

78% of residents are of economic age (15 – 64), slightly higher than the 76% for all of Seoul. 6.7% of the population was elderly, nearly twice the 3.5% nationwide figure.

There are 17 students per teacher, significantly lower than the nationwide (20.6) and Seoul (23.7) figures.

In Gangnam hospitals there were 24,535 foreign patients, 28% higher than the previous year, and there were 1.032665 million foreign guests, a 40% increase.

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Democratic United Party of South Korea apologizes to the people Tue, 15 Jan 2013 03:55:33 +0000

Members of the Democratic United Party, including its Assembly Leader Park Gi-chun, gathered in Seoul to apologize to voters by bowing three times. The DUP is the main opposition party following wins by the conservative Saenuri Party.

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Most-read articles of the week – January 13, 2013 Sun, 13 Jan 2013 22:48:52 +0000

Top 10 in society.

1. Notorious but retired gangster Kim Tae-chon died in a hospital in Seoul of heart failure.

2. A look at the trends towards increasing age of first marriage.

3. More on #1.

4. More on #1.

5. More on #1.

6. More on #1.

7. An elderly middle school security guard was arrested on charges of repeatedly sexually abusing a female student.

8. More on #1.

9. More on #1.

10. Seven people committed suicide in a single night in Busan, suggesting they were inspired by the suicide of Cho Sung-min, former husband of Choi Jin-sil. Yonhap News considered the possibility of this being an example of the Werther effect.

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Report: More overseas Korean men evade military service Sat, 12 Jan 2013 21:20:16 +0000

Source article in Korean is at this link.

A study has found that the number of “emigrant draft dodgers”, who avoid military service on the pretext of overseas travel or study, has been increasing every year. There were 62 in 2007, and 149 in 2012.

According to the Military Manpower Administration on the 12th, the number of men who go overseas for travel or study and then never return in order to not enter military service has reached a total of 915 as of the end of last year. There are new draft dodgers every year, as there were 62 in 2007, 85 in 2008, 89 in 2009, 72 in 2010, 99 in 2011, and 149 in 2012.

The reasons for the increase in the number of draft dodgers going overseas were listed as the increased freedom to go overseas, and the shuttering of various programs to ensure that men complete their military service.

South Korean Marines run during the landing operation of South Korea military at Pohang beach, 400 kilometers (about 250 miles) southeast of Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Oct. 27, 2006. Pic: AP.

In 2007 the government ended the “overseas travel permission system” for men 24 and under who had not yet completed their military service, on grounds that it was overly restrictive. However, it was maintained for such men over the age of 25. That is, men 24 and under who have not yet served in the military may travel overseas without obtaining permission, and so some leave and never return in order to avoid military service. Also in 2007, the “guaranteed return system” for men who have not yet served, under which a relative or similar would serve as a guarantor that the traveler would return to Korea, was changed into the “military service return guarantee insurance system”.

The MMA said that of reasons the 915 men are able to avoid military service, 523 (57%) are studying abroad, 276 (305) are on short trips, 33 have been living with their parents for five or more years, and 83 are visiting friends, in language study programs, or using other reasons.

758 (83%) of them are in the United States, 27 are in Canada, 26 are in Australia, 15 are in Japan, 10 are in China, and four are in Germany. 62 are in other countries.

The MMA has asked police to take action against overseas draft dodgers. Of the 915 men, 729 are under indictment, and another 162 may be indicted. Even if indicted they cannot be punished unless they return to this country, so some of the indictments have been suspended. If the cause of the suspension is lifted (such as if the accused returns and enlists), the investigation may be re-commenced.

Overseas draft dodgers can be sentenced to three years in prison when they return to this country.

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Korean judges rated by lawyers Fri, 11 Jan 2013 03:35:43 +0000

Source article in Korean is at this link.

On the 9th the Seoul Bar Association announced the results of its ratings of judges nationwide, finding that 48-year old Kim Dae-woong, chief judge of the Seoul Central District Courts, received a perfect score along with 9 colleagues who scored in the top 1% in the  survey of lawyers (2012년 법관평가 결과).

The latest survey saw 2,738 judges who served nationwide between January and December of 2012 rated by lawyers on a scale ranging up to 100 in three categories: fairness (four sub-items, 40 points); manners and kindness (two sub-items, 20 points); and judging skills (four sub-items, 40 points).

The lawyers who participated in the survey included 460 members of the Seoul Bar Association (9,128 members), who rated 978 judges. The average judge was rated 74.86.

The judical ratings were prepared for member lawyers to freely record their judgments in a judicial evaluation form prepared  on the basis of the judicial ethics codeby a judicial evaluations committee in the Seoul Bar Association.

The Bar Association announced that “to obtain accurate ratings, lawyers rated judges in cases in which they had directly participated, and ratings were recognized as valid only in cases for which the rater’s real name, date of birth, case number, and judge’s name were disclosed.”

The Bar Association highlighted the 10 judges who were rated in the top 1% of the 978 judges rated in 2012.Just as last year, to increase the objectivity and reliability of the ratings, they were chosen from among the 174 judges were rated by five or more lawyers.

The top 10 judges received an average score of 97.54, with Judge Kim Dae-woong being rated a perfect 100 by every lawyer.

Of the top 10 judges, seven are in the Seoul Central District Courts. In addition to Judge Kim, the list includes Judge Kim Dae-seong, Judge Kim Hwan-su, Judge Park Gwan-geun, Judge Lee Won-beom, Judge Seong Eon-ju, and Judge Ahn Hui-gil.

The judges in the bottom 10 were also rated by at least five lawyers. They received an average rating of 42.53. Three are in the Seoul High Court, one is in the Seoul Central District Courts, one is in the Seoul Eastern District Courts, and one is in the Seoul Western District Courts.

 The Bar Association did not publish the names of the bottom 10 judges out of respect for their courts, but did send the list to the Supreme Court.

The Bar Association announced that “the highest-rated judges in 2012 can be seen as exemplars of court administration, being respectful of parties in litigation and fostering courteous courtroom cultures.”

“However, Judge S, who has received an average rating of just 46.5 from 10 lawyers in consecutive years, needs to make several urgent reforms regarding a number of problems raised by the lawyers who have appeared before Judge S,” the Association said.

The Bar Association announced that “this association will be active in judicial ratings to raise the profile of excellent judges who work to bring about a better court system, and will take the lead in increasing the esteem of the entire legal field by promoting awareness of  judges who do not do so.”

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Korean police have plan to reduce bullying Thu, 10 Jan 2013 03:45:15 +0000

Source article in Korean is at this link.

The Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency has prepared a “2013 School Violence Response Guideline” which involves school visit days and increased responsiveness to reports of school violence.

According to the guideline prepared by the Agency, police officers assigned to schools, honorary teachers, and “mother police” will each visit schools once a month to promote an anti-school violence campaign and increase joint patrols.

Also, education authorities, local governments, and civic groups will create school violence prevention councils to work together with local communities.

Promotional materials will be placed on the websites of local governments and cooperative agencies, and also on subway advertisements, to promote the 117 hotline. Activities will also tyake place in elementary, middle, and high schools and even in kindergartens.

Accordingly, each police station will operate guidance programs for students, and the program considered to be best will become the template for others.

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In Korea, thieves target textbooks Wed, 09 Jan 2013 04:23:07 +0000

Source article in Korean is at this link.

Police are investigating after a report that a group of textbooks were stolen from a high school in Daejeon.

According to the Daegu Metropolitan Police Agency, at approximately 3pm on December 22 of last year at a high school the Gwanjeo-dong neighborhood, an unknown man and two women who appeared to be teenagers stole hundreds of textbooks and reference books belonging to students.

Investigators found that they entered the school on Saturday, taking advantage of the fact that students were gone, and evaded the security guard to enter classrooms and remove the books from lockers before escaping in a truck.

Students entering their senior year appear to be the main victims.

The school and the security agency both searched for the thieves, and confirmed that they made a report to police on the 7th, nearly two weeks after the fact.

Police are investigating closed-circuit camera footage and ascertaining the full extent of the theft.

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Seoul fights electricity consumption… with lunch! Tue, 08 Jan 2013 02:45:22 +0000

The Kimchi rush in Seoul is set to start one hour earlier. Pic: AP.

Source article in Korean is at this link.

Over 40,000 Seoul city employees are moving their lunch times to 11am as part of a policy to reduce the increase in electricity consumption in winter.

The city announced on January 8th that employees of city hall and of each district office will shift their lunch times from 12 noon to 11am, lasting from January 9th to February 8th. Participation on January 9th and 10th will be voluntary but encouraged.

The coldest winter in decades has seen extremely high energy consumption, three times the previous record, and the measure is intended to combat the upsurge.

The city expects that shifting lunch times by one hour will save up to 18,000 kilowatt hours at a peak hour by enabling reduced computer and lighting use. That would represent 5.3% of all electricity use in Seoul during the peak hour, and is the equivalent of 60,000 fluorescent lights being turned on for one hour.

The city said that, to minimize inconvenience for citizens caused by the change in lunch time and working hours, local citizen service centers will be opened.

Lim Ok-gi, head of the city’s climate and environment office, said that “we hope that the public sector’s move to reduce electricity consumption will be voluntarily followed by the private sector.”

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Most-read articles of the week – January 6, 2013 Sun, 06 Jan 2013 04:38:54 +0000

Original list in Korean is at this link.

Top 10 in society:

1. The “joyful evangelist” Hwang-su-gwan passed away of septicemia.

2. A TV report looking at the long hours and low pay of delivery drivers.

3. A middle-aged woman was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by an unknown man.

4. 60,000 teenagers drop out of school every year, and one reporter took a close look at why one girl ran away from home and quit school at the age of 14.

5. Park Gui-seop, the husband of the woman murdered in Junggok-dong last year by a repeat sex offender who was wearing an ankle break, spoke with a reporter about the case and his desire to see the killer executed rather than serve a life sentence.

6. A TV channel may have broken the law by broadcasting security camera footage of “yoga master” Choi Gap-bok’s prison break. He contorted his body through the food tray of his cell door while guards were sleeping.

7. 18 cows being raised in Cheonan died of alcohol poisoning from improperly prepared feed.

8. A woman in Gwangju was arrested on suspicion of hitting her husband while driving drunk. His broken bones are expected to take 14 weeks to heal.

9. A man who spent two years in The Philippines searching for his missing son committed suicide by drinking pesticide.

10. A look at the skills college students believe to be most necessary to land a job in a big company.

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South Korea rings in New Year with new laws Sat, 05 Jan 2013 01:28:49 +0000

First original article in Korean is at this link.

In 2013 restaurants in Seoul will have to disclose the “final price”, including value-added tax and service charges, on their menus.

This is meant to eliminate the problem of customers ordering food based on menu prices but then being charged based on various taxes.

The city will apply the “final price representation system” (최종 지불가격 표시제) to all food service companies, including restaurants and coffee shops, beginning January 1st.

Also, restaurants serving meat must display the prices in units per 100 grams of meat to enable easy comparisons by consumers, and must also display per-person prices.

According to the revisions to regulations on food hygiene which went into effect on December 31, certain prices must be visible even before customers enter the business, under the “outside price display system” (옥외가격표시제).

The outside price display system applies to regular and rest-style restaurants of at least 150 square meters (approximately 45 pyeong), comprising 11% or over 1,500 of Seoul restaurants.

The outside price display must include the final prices of at least five menu items and be posted at entrances so as not to violate the ordinance.

The city has said that, to ensure the outside price display system is properly complied with, it plans to send inspectors to restaurants through March to inform them of the system and that beginning May 1st businesses who do not observe the ordinance will be subject to administrative measures.

Businesses found not displaying the outside prices will receive warnings on the first offense and a seven-day suspension of business if caught again.

Accordingly, the city explained that its web site will include information on how to display the outside prices without harming the city’s aesthetics or burdening businesses.

Kim Gyeong-ho, head of health and welfare for the city, said that “we expect these systems will protect consumer’s rights to know and will induce price competition among businesses, increasing convenience for all consumers.”

Second original article in Korean is at this link.

The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries announced on December 27 that, nationwide, pets must be registered with animal organizations chosen by local civic organizations beginning January 1.

The measure is intended to increase the responsibility exercised by pet owners and prevent pets from being abandoned, and originally began in seven cities and provinces in 2008.

In 2011 96,000 pers were abandoned, nearly quadruple the 25,000 in 2003, and the associated costs exceeded 8.785 billion won.

The registration system is applicable to all dogs kept as pets for at least three months.

Animal hospitals and organizations chosen by local cities, counties, and boroughs may choose registration via internal microchipping, external microchipping, or a collar label.

Areas with populations of 10,000 or less, including cities and rural and farming communities, will be exempted from the registration system.

Fines of 40,000 won will apply to pets found to be unregistered. Enforcement will begin in the first half of 2013.

The Ministry expects that the nationwide extension of the pet registration system will reduce cases of animal abandonment, and prevent cases of disease and rabies.

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Korean-American soldier acquitted of rape in Seoul Wed, 02 Jan 2013 06:15:24 +0000

Original article in Korean is at this link.

On the 1st the 27th criminal division (Judge Kim Hwan-su) of the Seoul Central District Courts acquitted 25-year-old Korean-American soldier Mr. A of charges of sexually assaulting a woman he had met at a nightclub while she was intoxicated. He had been indicted on the charge of quasi-rape (준강간죄).

The court said that “it is difficult to see the situation in which the victim had sexual relations with Mr. A as one in which she was unable to resist or could not protest… simply because the victim does not remember what occured does not enable the court to determine her intention or judge her unable to have resisted.”

Quasi-rape is when a person sexually assaults a victim who is unable to resist.

Mr. A met the victim Ms. B, a woman in her 30s, at a nightclub in Seoul where she worked as a waitress, then played games and drank with her before going to a nearby motel where they had sex.

Mr. A left Ms. B asleep in the motel and returned to the club, and 30 minutes later Ms. B woke up and called Mr. A, then went to the club.

The court said that it had reached its conclusion in considerations of its findings that Mr. A had not forced Ms. B to drink, and that Ms. B was quite normal in her ability to walk and in her expressions and facial appearance and was therefore not intoxicated. Prosecutors have filed an appeal against those findings.

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Most-read articles of the week — December 30, 2012 Sat, 29 Dec 2012 16:03:30 +0000

Top 10 in society.

1. Beginning January 1st, pet owners must register their pets with a local animal organization.

2. One couple was created out of the Battle of the Solos, aka the world’s saddest flashmob.

3. A sex offender who escaped from prison in Ilsan, barefoot, went shopping for sneakers in Ansan after checking into a hotel.

4. Starbucks Korea ran a Christmas promotion in which purchases of drinks earned stickers, which could eventually be redeemed for free drinks or a diary. People soon began trading in the stickers at work and online, where one sticker could go for up to 3,000 won.

5. The mother of the Daegu student who committed suicide last year over intense bullying at school is featured in a new documentary about the bullying problem.

6. Story #3 ended in the guy being caught again.

7. A look at how economic circumstances and work stress causes young people to delay marriage.

8. The Korean Professional Photographers Association is looking back at the year’s best photos taken by members, and one was of a seal grabbing a fish. Other photos can be seen here.

9. More on #3.

10. Some special forces soldiers got into a raucous argument in a drinking establishment.

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Global Hawk purchase protested in Korea Fri, 28 Dec 2012 18:38:20 +0000

In Seoul on the morning of the 27th, members of Solidarity for the Peace and Reunification of Korea (평화와통일을여) gathered in front of the American Embassy to protest South Korea’s possible purchase of Global Hawk drones from the United States.

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Koreas record 56 earthquakes in 2012 Thu, 27 Dec 2012 03:27:58 +0000

Yonhap News found an unusual way to look back at the past year.

A study has found that, including North Korea and the seas, our country experienced twice as many earthquakes this year as in the past.

According to the Korea Meterological Association on the 27th, there were 56 earthquakes on the Korean Peninsula this year through last month, twice the average since record-keeping began in 1978. The highest number, 60, was recorded in 2009.

It’s also over ten more than the average of 43.6 recorded each year since digitial detection methods were begun in 1999.

There were nine which reached at least 3.0 on the Richter scale and four which were strong enough to be felt by people.

Other than in the seas the largest number, 11, were in the Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do area, followed by four in Jeollabuk-do and two each in Busan, Ulsan, and Gyeongsangnam-do.

In North Korea seven earthquakes were recorded, and there were none in the capital region of Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, and Incheon.

There were 12 in the West Sea, nine in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), and seven in the South Sea.

The strongest earthquake of the year so far occurred on May 11th at 12:46 pm, five kilometers east-northeast of Muju-gun in Jeollabuk-do, registering a 3.9 on the Richter scale.

Houses and windows shook in Muju and Namwon, at an intensity level of IV. In Daegu and Daejeon the intensity was of level II but there was no damage.

The increased number of earthquakes in recent years is likely due to the effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2010, the KMA said.

In this country there were 42 earthquakes in 2010, 52 last year, and 56 as of Christmas of this year.

Kim Yeong-shin of the KMA said that “around the world in recent years there has been an increasing number of earthquakes… since the Great East Japan Earthquake there has been a slight decrease as energy levels seem to have been adjusted.”

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Persistent male-female wage gap in South Korea Sun, 23 Dec 2012 21:13:00 +0000

Original article in Korean is at this link.

A study has found that in our country last year women’s income was 50% that of men’s. Further, 70% of female workers last year earned less than 20 million won.

On the 23rd Statistics Korea (통계청), the Bank of Korea (한국은행), and the Financial Supervisory Service (금융감독원) released the results of the “2012 Analysis of Household Finances and Welfare”, finding that last year men earned an average of 36.38 million won. Women averaged just under half that, 45.9%, or 16.69 million won. In the study, “regular workers” were considered to be those who spent more time working than looking for work, from among those who worked or looked for work for at least six months out of the year.

With regard to income, female regular employees, who make up the majority of those earning labor income (wage income), earned 23.34 million won, 56.7% less than male regular employees, who earned 42.1 million. The overall female average was higher, but the male-female wage gap (based on 2009) was triple the 15.8% average of the OECD nations as published at the beginning of this month. According to the statistics, the male-female wage gap in our country is 39.8%, the highest among the OECD nations. Female irregular employees had particularly low incomes, averaging 9.75 million won among temporary and daily workers, and made up 58.4% of the total female workforce.

The male-female wage gap becomes clearer when broken down by occupation. The average income of female employees in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries was 2.15 million won, not even one-tenth of the average 23.3 million won among men in those industries. Further, female workers in simple labor and sales positions, which have many irregular workers, averaged 9.34 million and 15.55 million won, respectively. Accordingly, 69.9% of women earned less than 20 million won last year and just 5% earned at least 50 million won. 28.3% of men earned less than 20 million won while 22.7% earned at least 50 million won. 18.3% of women are in poverty, greater than the 14.6% of men.

A social welfare statistician with Statistics Korea said that “of workers with a college degree, 65% are men and 35% are women, while of those who have been working for at least ten years, 68% are men and 32% are women. Further, the male-female wage gap at large and medium-size companies having at least 300 employees was 73% and 27%, respectively, leaving women little opportunity to earn the same income as men.”

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